Morning Business Memo…

Mario Monti is the man of the hour… The gray-haired economist and former member of the European Commission is now forming a new government in Italy. Monti is taking over as prime minister from the flamboyant billionaire Silvio Berlusconi, who stepped down. Monti’s mission is to keep Italy from being dragged under by the crisis over its debt. An auction today of Italian government bonds went fairly well. Interest rates were higher than last month’s levels, but below 7 percent mark reached last week.

We’ve heard a lot about the housing crunch, and severe drop in home values in many parts of the country. But agricultural land prices are booming. The Wall Street Journal says the trend has turned the economics of land investment upside down. Farmers are buying land that was to be used for housing development – reclaiming thousands of acres from developers.

US exports are on the rise, and Boeing is one of the largest beneficiaries. A record-breaking deal was announced at the Dubai air show for 50 wide bodied planes. Dubai’s Emirates Airlines is spending $18 billion on model 777-300 jets.

President Obama and other Pacific Rim leaders are talking trade. Canada, Mexico and Japan are backing a Pacific free trade proposal from the US. President Obama is also urging China to play fair on its undervalued currency and intellectual property protections. A fresh sign of growth from Asia came with output numbers from Japan. Growth during the summer quarter came at an annualized rate of 6 percent, as Japan recovers from the devastating earthquake and tsunami in March.


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